Farewell 2020, Hello 2021!
How we continued to move forward during a year of challenges and learning for ECOlunchbox
With hearts somber yet filled with hope for a brighter future, we bid adieu to 2020 and welcome 2021. We are grateful at ECOlunchbox for the lessons learned during the 2020 pandemic and will carry forward these learnings into our work helping people reduce their dependence on plastic. We are pleased to report that in the face of so many challenges, ECOlunchbox was nevertheless successful in moving forward with our work to educate, inspire and activate people to say goodbye to plastic.
Q1 2020 - B Corp Certification & Zero Waste Living Adoption Grows Strongly!
The beginning of 2020 brought a wave of good news. First off, we celebrated the culmination of the long process involved with becoming a B Corp and were certified! Plus, we re-certified as a California Green Business! Since ECOlunchbox's founding in 2008, we have been a mission-based, socially responsible, and environmentally focused company. Now we are third-party certified via the rigorous B Corp process! To celebrate, we added the logo to our website, started adding it to our packaging, and announced our B Corp certification and California Green Business re-certification to our community in our blog.
Did you know that ECOlunchbox measures its carbon footprint using greenhouse gas accounting? We purchase Renewable Energy Certificates to match our electricity usage and we purchase carbon offsets to offset our remaining carbon footprint generated through direct emissions of owned assets and by offsetting an estimated metric tonnes of CO2 from inbound shipping and company travel. Carbon is sequestered by the projects we support in the purchase of these certificates and offsets.
From January through mid-March, ECOlunchbox sales took off like a rocket. It was exciting to see that adoption of plastic-free products and the zero-waste lifestyle had caught momentum. Starting a mission-based, family-owned business is a challenging and risky undertaking, but our commitment to our mission and our user community is what has kept us going for 12 years and counting!
Then some trouble started happening. Production in China halted when the Covid-19 pandemic took root. Factories were closed for months. That's where our Blue Water Bento leakproof containers are made, so we were worried we'd run out of stock since we couldn't replenish.
Q2 2020 - Pandemic Pause & George Floyd Killing
Whoa! When the pandemic hit in mid-March, the market for zero waste products, including our lunch boxes, slowed down dramatically. Fortunately, we were not overstocked.
Non-essential businesses, including our warehouse, were shut down for a while early in the pandemic, so sales halted for a time. Even when the warehouse reopened, sales were paltry since people stopped hand-packing lunches to take to work and school. Instead, everyone settled in at home to work and study online - much closer to their fridges!
ECOlunchbox applied for PPP assistance, and we were fortunate enough to get some assistance to keep our staff employed. It has been tough financial times for ECOlunchbox, but since our team was working from home already and our digital collaboration systems were in place, we continued without any tech hiccups!
To continue our mission of educating, inspiring, and empowering people to say goodbye to plastic, we focused on educating our community about how to live with less plastic even during a pandemic. We were active on social media, coaching our community on tips and tricks. Plus, we published a blog titled Reusables During A Pandemic and tips for hikers during a pandemic called Covid 19 Trail Tips.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white police officer for more than nine minutes. His brutal death woke up the nation to racism, anti-Blackness, and injustice. With Floyd's death, ECOlunchbox and the world were shaken awake to the ugly racism Black people face in our country every day. His heart-wrenching murder prompted us to begin a journey of reflection about how as a company we can move forward with justice and equality not just in our hearts — but in our corporate actions. We started by reading and learning about environmental justice issues, made donations, and publicly took a stand against racism and for equality in social media and a blog we wrote called "May We All Breathe Freely."
Q3 - Our Founder's Say Goodbye To Plastic Book Published!
In addition to selling plastic-free products since 2008, our intention and ECOlunchbox's mission has been to educate and inspire people about plastic pollution. Our Founder Sandra Ann Harris published "Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide For Plastic-Free Living" in October 2020.
The goal of Sandra Ann Harris' book, published by Hatherleigh Press and distributed by Penguin Random House, is to educate and activate readers to dive into the plastic-free lifestyle.
To share more about the book and why Harris, a former investigative journalist and humanitarian aid worker, decided to write it, we wrote a blog post telling the story behind the book.
Q4 - New Product Splash Box XL Launched
In the spirit of offering modular nesting sets that collapse down as empties in backpacks and store space efficiently in our kitchens, we expanded our Blue Water Bento Splash Box line of products with the addition of the Splash Box XL.
Now our Splash Box, which holds two nesting Splash Pods, coordinates with its larger cousin, the Splash Box XL. Check out our blog celebrating all the cool features of this new reusable container that holds 5 cups (40 oz.) and features a green lid embossed with a coral design.
For holiday shoppers, we launched gifty plastic-free shipping. Our shipments continue to be plastic-free and our UPS shipments are carbon offset, but now they've gotten a cute facelift, too. The new complementary packing includes recycled kraft krinkle-cut paper in a kraft box with a handwritten gift postcard and taped with recyclable kraft packing tape printed with inspirational ECOlunchbox messages and logos. To check out the new snazzy look, head over to our blog.
2020 was a year of many challenges and many successes, and we couldn't have done it without our amazing community of ECOlunchbox fans! What are some ways you are reducing your carbon and plastic footprints in 2021? We'd love to hear from you on our Facebook page!